In the funeral oration (Or. 8) for his teacher Procopius, the rhetorician Choricius of Gaza pretends to respond to critics among the audience who find fault with the devotion of the deceased sophist to classical scholarship and insist on the precedence of Scripture and Christian faith. Addressing these misgivings Choricius underscores Procopius's theological studies as well as charitable activities, to the extent that his teacher even compares to priests and holy men. At first glance, this image seems to be evidence that Choricius felt the need to comply with the totalizing Christian discourse at the time. Yet numerous classical echoes, in particular references to Aelius Aristides's portrayal of Pericles and Demosthenes, demonstrate that the orator's ideal of the scholar as a public intellectual is largely based on traditional paideia. This article, thus, argues that Choricius aims to maintain in the Christian polis a central place for a secular education that, while not opposed to religion, fulfills a vital function for the individual and society as a whole.


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pp. 454-472
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